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Brits on fire in the wet at Le Mans!

Luke Wilkins

Cal Pic 223x300 Brits on fire in the wet at Le Mans!Wow – what a weekend for British Motorcycle racing!

I was away filming for Bike World at the BMF show in Peterborough where they were showing all of the MotoGP on a big screen. As you can imagine, being at Europe’s biggest outdoor biking festival and trying to avoid hearing the results from Le Mans before I could get home and watch it for myself… was a tad Mission Impossible-esque!

Succeed I did though, and wow what a treat I had in store when I returned. Cal Crutchlow has called himself the Honey Badger of racing, and don’t be confusing the Honey variety with the cuddly stripey badgers we get over here, oh no, these thing roam the plains in Africa, taking on lions, killer bee’s and deadly cobras for fun. They are known as the most fearless animal on earth.

A more apt description I couldn’t find, as Cal has proven since making the step up to MotoGP that not only is he a world class rider, but that there is simply no one out there with bigger cahones. At Silverstone last year he came from the back of the grid to finish sixth with a broken ankle in front of his home crowd, and I thought it was one of the bravest and best rides by a Brit I had ever seen. Yesterday, if you ask me, was even better!

He had a huge crash during practice on Saturday, fracturing his leg, getting concussion and suffering some pretty severe bruising. Yet none of that seemed to affect him in the wet at Le Mans. It’s not just his ability to ride through the pain barrier, but his actual bravery and skill on the bike. He made a lot of great factory riders look very ordinary, including his hero Valentino Rossi on the factory version of his bike, plus stuck two fingers up to the idea that a satellite rider shouldn’t be able to compete at the front.

Cal geniunely seems to improve every time he gets on the bike, learning each time and maturing too. If he doesn’t get signed up to a factory ride next year, it will be criminal, and now how stupid does his team Tech 3 feel about talking to Pol Espargaro about taking his place next year?

Cal’s performance was immense, and to see a Brit mixing it with Rossi, Pedrosa, Lorenzo et al. is brilliant, especially when he is on an inferior machine. Long may it continue! I’ve also been lucky to meet Cal a few times, and even had the pleasure of a pillion ride at a wet Oulton last year (Honestly I wasn’t scared at all), and his candidness about the world of racing is not only honest and refreshing, but genuinely great to see, and I really think we have a future World Champion in the Coventry Honey Badger.

Also, take a bow Scott Redding! What a win, after dominating all weekend, it looked like an awful start might make him have to wait even longer for his maiden Moto2 win. The man from Gloucester though showed his class, patience, and ability to claw his way back to the front with ease, and remain there until the red flag appeared.

Scott is a real larger than life character, with so much potential its silly, and to see him take the win and increase his lead at the top of the championship to 24 points was immense! The prospect of him racing with Cal next year in MotoGP is a very exciting one, and with rumours that Ducati want to get him on one of their Satellite Pramac bikes, it could just well happen.

Oh and his win was the first by a Brit at the French Grand Prix for 30 years, and the first ever by a Brit in Moto2… take a bow son!


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